New funding for novel plastics recycling technology announced

Plastic packaging

A research consortium comprising technologists from the University of Birmingham and engineering firm Stopford has been awarded a further £300k of funding from Innovate UK to develop a novel plastic recycling technology.

The technology is a chemical recycling process that utilises hot compressed water as green solvent to selectively depolymerise waste plastics into commodity compounds which can be processed to produce virgin materials.

The University says the process will supplant fossil fuel feedstocks and inject “much-needed” circularity into plastic waste management. It also adds that the process is capable of recycling contaminated and degraded plastics, and requires reduced downstream processing.

The new tranche of funding has been awarded by UK Research and Innovation’s (UKRI) Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging Challenge to adapt its platform technology to PET-based plastic waste such as pots, salad trays and tubs.

I am delighted that our technology has once again been recognised by UKRI’s SSPP Challenge.

The University says the funding complements the team’s ongoing work, also funded by Innovate UK, to establish a demonstrator facility at Birmingham’s Tyseley Energy Park for the recycling of polyolefin-based plastics, such as polyethene and polypropylene which are used in packaging.

Dr Ben Herbert, Technology & Innovation Director at Stopford, said: “I am delighted that our technology has once again been recognised by UKRI’s SSPP Challenge as a ground-breaking recycling technology for the management of waste plastics, and I very much look forward to working with our project partners to expand its application to enable a circular approach to the management of PET-based plastics waste.”

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